Have you tried “Konnyaku”? If not, let it be a part of To-Eat list of your visit to Japan. Konnyaku is made from a special kind of potato, mainly used to make Konnyaku. Oh, you thought it must be soft because it is made from potato? No way. It cannot be such simple.
Konnyaku is very chewy food, like gummy in texture, and likely to be made into a stewed dish with soy souse and sugar, called Nimono. Konnyaku itself does not have such strong taste and can be transformed into a variety of dishes.
In Yamagata prefecture, people love Konnyaku. In Yamagata City, they buy the biggest amount of Konnyaku a year among every capital city of the prefecture in Japan. They stew it differently, season it as they like, and even copy other foods with it, such as BBQ chicken, Sashimi of shrimp and squid, or even shark fin. You can try Konyaku course in Yamagata city. Besides them, there is a popular Konnyaku dish in Yamagata, which is today’s topic, Tama Konnyaku. “Tama” in Japanese has two meaning. One is a ball, the other is a jewel. Tama Konnyaku is named in the meaning of ball because it is a rounded shape Konnyaku like a ball. They cook it with soy souse and sugar, which dye Tama Konnyaku into light brown. Cooked Tama Konnyaku is bright and shiny, which seems like jewels as well.
Since Tama Konnyaku is so simple dish, you can cook it by yourself if you can get ball-shaped Konnyaku. Here is a recipe.
・Tama Konnyaku (Ball-shaped Konnyaku)
・Soup stock of squid
How to cook
1. Wash Tama Konnyaku instantly.
2. Put soup stock and seasonings into a pot.
3. Add Tama Konnyaku into the pot.
4. Stew for a while.
5. Pierce three or four Tama Konnyaku with long kitchen picks.
You can bring it wherever you like because three or four pieces are on the pins. Especially you can find Tama Konnyaku in local festivals. You will see children running around holding Tama Konnyaku with their hands as if it is a lollipop or cotton candy. Or of course, people very often enjoy Tama Konnyaku in a daily meal or even snacks. Since Konnyaku does not have such a strong taste and can be cooked as people like, Konnyaku is loved by everybody, every generation, every gender. If you visit Yamagata, try a variety of Konnyaku, including Tama Konnyaku.